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Home > News > Opinion News > Article > We dont need textbooks anymore

We don’t need textbooks anymore

Updated on: 09 July,2022 07:07 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Lindsay Pereira |

The fact that we no longer react to our government’s attempts at rewriting history shows how we have matured

We don’t need textbooks anymore

To teach children about democracy is useless, given that it only makes them grow up to be adults with unreasonable expectations. Representation pic

Lindsay PereiraTextbooks are overrated. I say this as someone who was forced to read them for years, because I was made to believe that education was important. I see now that I could have spent all that time doing something else, like practicing to become a politician. I could have saved a lot of money, and simply generated a fake degree in Entire Political Science or something if called upon to prove that I could read or write.


I also say this because recent media reports about textbooks being rewritten by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) have been ignored by most Indians. There is no outcry on social media, which proves that most Indians have abandoned the need to give textbooks or education any importance. I am one of those dinosaurs who simply hadn’t noticed until now.


It’s ridiculous how a few people did get upset, pointing out that we shouldn’t just erase chapters on the 2002 Gujarat riots or social movements like the Narmada Bachao Andolan, or children will soon assume these things didn’t happen. To those naysayers, I would like to point out that I am starting to feel as if the government of India is smarter than most governments around the world. It is only when we deny that something actually happened that we can move on to more important things such as offering our unemployed youth steady jobs for around four years or so.


Apparently, some chapters about democracy and the making of Indian democracy have also been deleted, which is another positive sign that we are moving towards our future with the right kind of priorities in place. To teach children about democracy is useless, given that it only makes them grow up to be adults with unreasonable expectations. They will start to expect their government to offer them opportunities, jobs, healthcare, or infrastructure, and will be unnecessarily disappointed when they eventually realise that none of these things can happen. I would argue that we shouldn’t even mention democracy anymore.

Rewriting history is a good thing because it allows governments to smoothen out the rough edges and make countries shine for all the right reasons. To teach children about the 2002 riots is a waste of time, given how they can simply turn on their televisions and watch rioting from more recent times. There’s usually one every other week, so why look to the past when we can prepare them for tomorrow’s communal clashes instead?

I sometimes wonder if my generation was ruined by governments that didn’t do enough to protect us from the past. We were taught about the freedom struggle, and people who laid down their lives to give us a free country, but did we really need to learn about them? Nothing of importance happened in our country before 2014 anyway, so why did we have to spend all those years learning about people and events that meant so little?

There should be stronger attempts to make sure our children are given the right kind of information in the years to come. I would even suggest doing away with history as a subject altogether, because it does more harm than good. This notion that those who forget the past are condemned to repeat doesn’t hold true. If it did, how come millions of us who were taught about the past still make the same mistakes every five years or so?

We need subjects that matter, based on economic realities. India’s unemployment rate grew to 7.83 per cent in April this year, from 7.60 per cent in March, according to data from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE). In January, roughly 10 million applicants reportedly applied for around 40,000 advertised jobs in the Indian Railways. What this proves is we need fewer subjects like history, and more practical subjects like cooking and running fast food stalls.

As the Prime Minister himself correctly pointed out, selling snacks is a pragmatic option for unemployed youth, one that can enable them to earn almost R200 per day. How will tomorrow’s unemployed Indians run these fast food stalls if schools waste time teaching them about history instead of how to create a batter with the right consistency?

Our education system needs an overhaul, and I am glad we are starting with textbooks. We may one day be able to eliminate teachers too. After all, we must remind ourselves that ours is a great country where even the illiterate can become ministers.

When he isn’t ranting about all things Mumbai, Lindsay Pereira can be almost sweet. He tweets @lindsaypereira
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The views expressed in this column are the individual’s and don’t represent those of the paper.

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